And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” Mark 4:26-29
Jesus is teaching his disciples to be patient. Sow the Kingdom, but it does not bear fruit right away. It grows under some invisible energy, sprouting, growing, evolving, and maybe ripening. You need to wait upon this Mystery that is the Lord, but be ready to harvest when it comes.
Our society is impatient throughout every stratum; wealthy, middle-class, and poor. We are like a multi-layered Verruca Salt from Willy Wonka: “And now, don’t care how, I want it now!”
I have told congregants and colleagues that patience is a necessary gift in ministry; movement takes time and is often unpredictable. I even have my own parable. Here it is:
Stimulating progress in a ministry is like cooking spaghetti. You patiently wait for the water to boil and add a little olive oil and a pinch of salt. Then you add the spaghetti to the boil. Every so often, you pull a strand out of the water and throw it at the wall. If it sticks, it’s ready. If not, you patiently wait a little bit and repeat. Do this until it sticks. Spaghetti clumps together once in a while, and you are forced to start a new boil or move on to rice.
Master of Parable,
First, I acknowledge that my parable probably falls short of your standards. Thank you for your patient, loving sense of humor.
I pray for the gift of patience for all those serving in your Kingdom. Teach us that the world’s values are often opposite of our virtues. We need to be patient, loving, and gentle of heart.
I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen!